Career Woman

Birth trauma has a hidden impact on women in the workplace

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Birth trauma is a topic that isn’t spoken about as regularly as it should be, and the effects it can have upon the mother are significant, but this is often hidden when women are in the workplace.

Birth trauma injuries are physical and physiological injuries experienced during childbirth and can affect either the mother or the baby. As well as physical injury, ranging from a tear to damage to the pelvic floor, the mother can experience physiological trauma. It can be triggered by many things, including fetal oxygen deprivation, trauma from impact during delivery, premature birth, and birth injury caused by medical negligence.

There is a misconception in society that the initial incident is far more traumatic than its after-effects. Sadly, this isn’t always the case, and a lifetime of medical check-ups and therapy is often needed to help women recover.

Potential After-Effects of Birth Trauma

In this article, we’ll focus on the psychological and social changes in mothers after birth trauma. We’ll also discuss how birth trauma can have a significant impact on women in the workplace, as a result.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD is a mental health disorder that people can develop after they experience or see a traumatic event, such as a birth injury. Symptoms include traumatic memories or dreams, the release of certain hormones to increase alertness, an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing.

Anxiety

Anxiety is a natural feeling when we are worried, tense, or afraid – particularly about things that are about to happen, or which we think could happen in the future. It can be particularly prevalent in pregnant women who have previously experienced birth trauma.

Though normal, excessive anxiety can develop into a mentalhealth problem that begins to negatively affect the individual in ways such as unnecessary worrying, panic attacks and an inability to sleep.

Depression

Depression is classified as a mood disorder and is incredibly common in women who have experienced birth trauma. This is because they often feel a huge sense of guilt, despite the incident being out of their control.  

It may be described as feelings of sadness, loss, or anger that interfere with a person’s everyday activities. It can affect a woman’s emotional and physical wellbeing, behaviour, cognitive abilities, and sleep patterns.

How These Problems Affect Women in the Workplace

The mental health consequences of birth trauma can all have a significant impact on a woman’s ability to work. Symptoms can often occur anywhere, and at any time, making the workplace no exception.

Women May Be Hesitant to Try New Tasks, Hindering Their Success

Anxiety, depression, and PTSD can often prevent sufferers from attempting tasks they find difficult or are unsure about.Even the simplest of tasks may seem overbearing due to their anxiety over the unknown.

This hesitation can stop individuals reaching their full potential. To solve this, patients of birth trauma should gradually attempt to try new tasks in their spare time, without giving themselves a deadline. Aspiring businesswomen should attempt to embrace the challenge at their own pace, slowly introducing time restraints.

Women May Struggle with Significant Fatigue and a Lack of Concentration

Fatigue, the inability to sleep, and irregular sleep patterns, are all symptoms of numerous mental health disorders. Unfortunately, this can have a significant effect on a woman’s ability to stay focused at work.

Women struggling with sleep problems should alter their habits, such as smoking and drinking alcohol, to see if they recognise a difference. They should also maintain a regular routine, as well as trying natural remedies before seeking a doctor for sleeping pills.  

Women May Isolate Themselves and Find it Difficult to Build Stable Relationships

Symptoms of mental health problems can be intensified when an individual is placed in a new environment or meeting new people – something that’s incredibly common when starting a new job. PTSD, for example, can be triggered by a situation or conversation that reminds the individual of the traumatic event.

Because of these triggers and their past experiences, birth trauma sufferers may find it hard to bond with new colleagues. Employers should be wary of this and deter from forcing individuals into environments they’re not comfortable in. They should, however, encourage small team meetings and exercises to build an employee’s confidence and self-esteem.

Women May See a Change in Their Ability to Make Decisions

Unfortunately, people who are depressed and anxious are a lot more likely to doubt themselves and question their decision-making. Indecisiveness is often a product of low self-esteem but doesn’t necessarily reflect an individual’s leadership qualities.

To improve decisiveness in mothers who have experienced birth trauma, budding businesswomen should set themselves trivial tasks to decide upon, and gradually work their way up to making more important decisions. A good employer will value their employee’s opinions and take everything into consideration, no matter your seniority in the company.

Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Help for Birth Trauma

If you’re a birth trauma victim and still experiencing physical, mental, or social after-effects, you should talk to friends and family, and contact a healthcare specialist immediately. It’s never too late to seek help and there are a number of services out there that could help improve your personal and professional life.

Women who are struggling with PTSD, anxiety, or depression, must be completely transparent with the employer. The employer must also be aware of the necessary steps to take to assist in their mental health development programme.

Depending on the severity of your birth trauma situation, your mental illness may qualify as a disability under The UK’s Equality Act and the US’s ADA Amendments Act. Both Acts seek to protect individuals from discrimination at work and when using relevant services. We hope this article has been informative and helpful!

If you are an employer or manager who suspects that a new mother on your staff, or a colleague, may be dealing with birth trauma, take steps to open the subject sensitively with them and see what help can be offered in the workplace to help them cope.

Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained medical professional. Be sure to consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you’re seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.

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